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It's Not Too Late to Sign Up for Iowa's Private College Week!

Tomorrow Iowa's Private College Week (IPCW) begins.  And it's never too late to sign up to see Coe!  In honor of this week, since it was this week two years ago when I first visited Coe, there will be TWO, yes TWO, posts a day, Monday through Friday.  In the morning will be IPCW flashbacks and future adventures I'll be going on this upcoming year and the afternoon will be highlighting my last May Term traveler, Max.  Make sure to check these posts out! 



Let's Discover Physics!: Alison's Summer Research II

1. What's your favorite part of doing research during the summer?
Alison: There are a lot of highlights to doing research here. I love the people I work with and the things I'm doing. I also love the lunches the physics department sponsor every Wednesday (good food for cheap? OF COURSE!) 

2. Have you discovered any neat things about campus you didn't learn
about during the school year?
Alison: There are tons of neat things I discovered about campus that I didn't know about during the school year. First, we have a totally awesome sand volleyball court that hardly anyone uses. I've spent countless afternoons out there with all kinds of interesting people. Second, our barbeque pits are legit. Grab a bag of charcoal, some burgers, and some friends and you've got the recipe for a good night.

3. What sort of things do you do in your free time?
Alison: Since physics research during the summer is a 9 to 5 job, I have most of my nights and weekends free. I love to lay out in the sun and read a good book, explore the many unique shops and restaurants around Cedar Rapids and Iowa City... or go hiking around the Indian Creek Nature Center. It's also wonderful to have homemade dinners and movie nights with friends still on campus. 

4. What does a typical day of research look like?
Alison: My typical research day starts at 9. From 9 to around 12, I'll work on hearthing my samples on the laser levitator or running other spectroscopy measurements on previously made samples. I typically have a one hour lunch break then come back to work at one. From one till five, I levitate my samples turning them (hopefully) into a glass. Physics research doesn't really have a typical day. Almost every researcher has a different project and depending on where they are with the specific project multiple different steps to take each day. 

5. Will you do research next summer and do you recommend it to others?
Why or why not?
Alison: I would love to do research next summer but Peterson Hall is being remodeled meaning no physical research will happen here. I'm looking into either an REU at a different school or an internship overseas. I would recommend research to anyone considering it. It's a wonderful opportunity that not many other schools offer. We also have research in other departments, I have friends doing business research, psychology research, biology research, and chemistry research. There are all kinds of opportunities just waiting for you. 


Let's Discover Physics!: Alison's Summer of Research I

Next up is my friend Alison W. (see photo of us below).  She's going to be a sophomore, majoring in Physics and calls home Kuna, ID.  Alison elected to stay on campus both during May Term and the summer to participate in summer research.  She is also living in Murray (like Millie).

The infamous Ha(il)ley Sandwich.  Alison W. is obviously the one in the center!

Here's what she had to say about her May Term:

"My may term consisted of two hours lecture in the morning plus a two hour "lab" session in the afternoon. The entire may term was focused on glass and glass research. We were taught all about phase diagrams, Q units, glassformers, and deformations. The lab portion of may term was focused on teaching us to use the equipment in the labs as well as how to make glass. We would spend the two hours making glass, and running the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), the Raman, or the DSC. By the end of may term, my class of ten people were supposedly ready to do internationally known research."

She is now spending the rest of the summer doing the internationally known research she mentioned.  Check back on Thursday to read the Q&A with Alison!


Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Kyle's Baseball Road Trip II

Before the Q&A, I've included two photos Kyle sent me.  

Also, he sent me the group photo:

(Kyle is bottom row, second from the right)

1. This May Term is called Writers Colony.  How intensive was the writing and what sorts of writing did you do?
The writing on the trip itself was very manageable because we were able to work at our own pace and we weren’t required to have any papers completely done during the trip. Once back at Coe, we had 4 days to complete the 3 major papers that were required of us. The 3 papers consisted of a segmented essay, which was when we wrote segments throughout the trip on a baseball topic and put them all together in the end. The second was about your favorite or most memorable experience or moment that happened on the trip. The third was a compilation of the trip in a blog, photo, or video format, which basically just explained our experiences as a whole on the trip.

2. Could you give us a brief look at how you found out about this May Term, how you registered, and any preparation you had to do before leaving?
I had heard from a few friends about them possibly doing a May Term this May and I thought that sounded interesting. I then went on to the My Coe website and checked out all of the available May Terms and this one just jumped right off the page. I was a huge baseball fan and this seemed like the perfect thing to do. Once looking into it more, I found out that I had to submit a 750-1000 word essay explaining what I want to learn on this trip and what I think I will learn on this trip to be able to enroll in the class. Once I was accepted, I simply had to fill out some paperwork and I was set. There wasn’t much preparation you had to do but it was recommended that you begin reading one of the 3 books that were required to purchase for this class.

3. What was the most memorable play you saw on your trip?
The most memorable play that I saw on the trip was when we saw a walk-off homerun by a Washington Nationals player to win a really close game that we saw in Washington D.C. The crowd was so excited and it was an unbelievable atmosphere after that play occurred.

4. What's one really interesting and or unique baseball fact you learned on your trip?
One really interesting thing that I learned on this trip is that in every game, one baseball is never used more than once. With every pitch, there is a brand new ball being used.

5. Did you get sick of ballpark food or now that you're back, are you craving those hot dogs and Cracker Jacks?

The ballpark food never really gets old, in my opinion. It’s so great and unique that eating on a consistent basis was not only easy, but also quite enjoyable. Now that I’m back to eating homemade meals, I do miss the taste and smells of those incredible ballpark dogs.


Iowa's Private College Week: COMING SOON

Dear Prospective Students reading this blog,

Why hello there!  I'm glad you're checking out this blog (I hope you're finding good information on it!!).  I just wanted to let you know about a GREAT opportunity to see Coe before school kicks off again.  From Monday, August 1st to Friday, August 5th, it's Iowa's Private College Week (IPCW).  This is a chance for prospective students to view any of the 29 private colleges in Iowa.  During the five days, students are encouraged to take tours at any of these colleges (such as Coe).  Tours happen at each college twice a day (9:00 AM and 1:30 PM) for that week.  It's easy to sign up on the website, you pick your itinerary, as flexible as you need it to be.  It's also a great website to check out colleges you might not have thought of on your college search process.

On a personal note, I participated in Iowa's Private College Week two years ago.  My mom, sister, and I visited a couple of other colleges and Coe College.  This was my first trip to Coe's campus and I had a great time.  I'll be posting more IPCW memories later so make sure to check back to read them (they're pretty good if you ask me).

Good luck on your search!



Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Kyle's Baseball Road Trip I

Now we'll look at the Writer's Colony May Term that happened in the United States.


  • May Term traveler: Kyle, a fellow Tempestuous Season FYSer (so a sophomore this fall), from Dubuque, IA.  He plans to major in Accounting and Business Administration. 
  • Where he went: To 12 different cities in the Midwest and on the East Coast to see 19 baseball games.
  • Also was able to tour every city (didn't just see baseball games and parks!).
  • Went with other Coe students and Writing Center advisor and Rhetoric professor, Dr. Bob.
  • Gone for a little less than one month on this road trip. 
I put together a little slideshow of the teams Kyle saw.  Enjoy and check back on Thursday for a Q&A with Kyle!

Most images from Chris Creamer's website.  Cooperstown image from this site.  Thanks!


Home Away From Home: Millie's Summer Work Experience II

1. What's campus like in the summer?  Have you discovered any new gems on campus you hadn't discovered during the school year?

Campus is empty, but relaxing.  It's nice to be on campus and not have to worry about homework or class. Since I've started giving tours, I've learned about/visited some other random places on campus, such as the sneaky door behind the racquet ball courts, the Eby annex (I wandered around that area for the first time a couple weeks ago), the Physical Plant's offices and the area under the PUB (it'll be health services in the fall).  Now that I have more free time, I've also been exploring Cedar Rapids and I've discovered some gems in the city too--such as Aggie O'Shears, which is where I now get my hair cut. 

2. How and when did you line up your jobs?  Were they difficult to find?

I asked about the Racquet Center job in March, but was told all of the positions had been filled. About two weeks before school was out Coach Rodgers told me that someone backed out and that I could have the job if I wanted it. I was lucky!  The admission office emailed me and asked me to come in for a job interview.  I interviewed for a couple of positions and got the full-time tour guide job.  It wasn't too difficult to find positions on campus.  If I wouldn't have worked for the admission office or the raquet center, I would have worked for physical plant and the library.  

3. What are you favorite parts of your jobs?

Admission Office--meeting potential new students, telling them about my experiences on campus, and encouraging them to come to Coe. Working in the admission office is a blast--my coworkers are nice, I feel as though I'm contributing to Coe and I am able to learn more about the inner-workings of Coe.  
Racquet Center--I really enjoy the relaxing atmosphere (I can read while I work) and I'm also being inspired to work out more! 

4. Do you have any big plans for your spare time?

Over the summer I want to learn a little more about Cedar Rapids--how to get around, fun places to go, different places I should go for random emergencies.  So far, my favorite places in Cedar Rapids are the snow cone stand on Collins and two smoothie places--Nutri-Smoothie and Healthy Happenings.  I also hope to catch up on reading and watch some movies I missed out on during the year.  

5. Would you find a job on campus next summer?  Why or why not? 

Yes! I love being on campus during the summer.  It's the perfect break from a hectic year on campus.  Next year I hope to apply for jobs in some different offices so I can experience different aspects of campus.  Being here for the summer has allowed me to learn a lot about campus and about myself.  I'm glad I decided to stay! 


Home Away From Home: Millie's Summer Work Experience I

We now travel from Serbia back to Cedar Rapids to visit with Millie (above).  She too worked in the Writing Center with myself and Anna.  Millie will be a sophomore like myself this fall and plans on pursing majors in English, History, and Asian Studies.  Wow!  She elected to stay and work on campus during the summer instead of returning to her hometown of Fulton, MO.  There are work opportunities on campus during the summer because places such as the Racquet Center, Admissions Department, or the Stuart Memorial Library are looking for workers to keep these buildings available to students looking at Coe or other Cedar Rapids community members.  Millie works at both the Racquet Center and in the Admissions Department giving tours.  When not working, Millie is relaxing in her room in Murray (she did have to pay a housing fee).  She got a double room all to herself and that's working out well.  Check back on Thursday for the Q&A with Millie!    


She's Leaving on a Jet Plane...for SERBIA: Anna's Adventures III

Part III: Question and Answer

1. Why did you pick this May Term? 

I actually wasn’t going to go on a May Term trip this past year.  I went on the London trip last year and the plan was to take this year off and work back at home to make some money for a May Term maybe next year!  However, Dennis Barnett, our professor talked to me and basically said, “you should do this trip.  I think you’d like it and you’d be a good fit for it.”  He made sure I could come to the informational meeting and then kept talking to me about the application process and his plans for the trip.  Dennis kept sharing bits and pieces to keep me curious and interested.  That ended up getting the better of me, I was so interested that I couldn’t say no!  I applied, was accepted, and put down my deposit.  So really, I think the reason I picked the trip was because Dennis kept after me about it.

2. Could you give us a brief timeline of how you found out about the trip, how you registered, any preparation, and then your departure from Coe? 

Like I said, Dennis told me about the trip, plus I’d had friends who had gone on the last trip to Serbia and talked it up.  So I’d technically known about the trip since my freshman year, but the informational meeting happened in late October.  Those who were interested in the trip had to apply, since only twelve students are taken on the trip.  We needed to apply by the end of November, with the understanding that we’d know if we had been accepted before reading day and finals week.  Then we needed to turn in our deposit by the end of January and have paid in full by finals week of the spring semester.  Once May Term began (May 9), we had five days of class at Coe, where we studied plays, the history and culture, and language.  We then left for Serbia the next weekend (May 15), driving from Coe to the O’Hare airport in Chicago.  From Chicago we flew to Warsaw, Poland, and caught a connecting flight to Belgrade, Serbia.

3. What was the hardest adjustment you had to make in Serbia? 

I think for me, the hardest adjustment was dealing with a language barrier and a different system of currency.  Many people on the street in Serbia speak English, but they won’t automatically make the switch from Serbian to English for you.  A lot of the time you have to talk to them in Serbian and then ask (also in Serbian) if they happen to speak any English.  Money was also an issue.  They use the dinar in Serbia and it takes approximately 67 dinars to make one dollar.  It took a little while to get used to converting dollars to dinars and dinars to dollars in my head, but after a couple of days, I could do it pretty easily.

4. In your opinion, why should people visit Serbia? 

Serbia is such a completely different cultural experience!  A lot of people visit Europe and talk about a distinctly European experience, but Serbia didn’t ever really European.  There was definitely a mix of cultural elements.  I saw shops that I had seen in London and came across architecture that looked similar to what I’d seen in pictures from a friend’s trip to Turkey.  Serbia was a very unique experience and if you’re looking for something off the beaten tourist path, you should definitely go.  But, as always when you’re traveling abroad, be open minded when you reach your destination.  That’s the only way you can truly appreciate the country and enjoy yourself.

5. Since this was your second May Term, why should students participate in them?

May Terms are such a great opportunity! I think everyone should do at least one.  If you’re into study abroad, May Terms are a great way to get a taste of a different country or culture.  The longest you’ll be somewhere is a month, so you don’t need to worry about getting really homesick or anything.  Think of it as bite-size study abroad!  I’m so glad I decided to go on a second May Term trip; it was a completely different experience from my first trip and I enjoyed them both.  College offers the opportunity to travel in a way you’ll pretty much never be able to travel again.  Take advantage of that opportunity.  Traveling (especially abroad) helps you grow as a person.  The May Term experience at Coe lets you learn and experience things in a unique setting and if you want to make the most of your college years, you should totally take a May Term.


She's Leaving on a Jet Plane...for SERBIA: Anna's Adventures II

Part II: A Favorite Memory

One of my favorite memories from the entire Serbia trip (and certainly one that will stay in my memory for quite a while) was our first group dinner at a restaurant down the street from our hotel, called Znak Pitanje.  It was our second night in Belgrade, so most everyone was mostly adjusted to the time difference.  Znak Pitanje (which literally translates to “question mark”) is located across the street from the Belgrade Cathedral and is made up of an indoor bar and restaurant area, an outdoor seating section, and then a series of private rooms in the back for larger parties.  Since there were sixteen of us, we were shown to one of the private rooms as soon as we walked in the door.

They served us a traditional Serbian meal — vegetables like cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes, mountain cheeses, bread, salted and smoked meats, sausages, more peppers, a bean dish, and a roasted meat of some sort — complete with rakija (the Serbian alcoholic beverage of choice, a fruit flavored homemade brandy).  You have to remember, the Serbs consume a lot of alcohol — its just part of their culture — and they can hold it well.  For them, it’s normal to have a small glass of rakija (or even two) with dinner, especially with a traditional dinner.  They served us all rakija but we were welcome to drink or not drink as we wished.  About halfway through the meal (which was delicious!) our Professor asked the waiter if there was any way we could have some music, even from a boombox.  The waiter said, no, he didn’t think there was a way to get us music, and he was terribly sorry.  We said, that’s fine, and went back to our meal.

About an hour later (time doesn’t seem to matter in Serbia, especially at meals), the waiter walked in, leading fourteen other Serbs into our private room.  He smiled at us and said, I’ve brought you music!  Turns out, these people happened to be singers and the waiter saw them sitting at the bar and asked if they could come sing some traditional music for the group of American tourists he was serving.  They agreed and in they came, singing about ten minutes of traditional folk music for us.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Completely different from any other music I’ve ever heard, but still beautiful.  I’m pretty sure the only word for it would be “magical.”

After the group had finished singing, they told us, we sang for you, now you must sing for us.  So we tried to come up with something uniquely American for them, something they wouldn’t have heard before.  Well, we ended up bumbling through two verses of “You Are My Sunshine.”  They laughed and applauded for us and said we were good sports.

That night ranks up in my top 5 experiences for the entire trip.  Yes, I saw tons of  amazing things and had tons of amazing experiences in Serbia, but none of them can quite compare to the kindness of those people who walked into the bar and ended up coming in to sing to us.  The Serbs have this very strong desire to show off the best of their country and a lot of the time, they’re willing to do pretty much whatever it takes to help tourists and visitors experience that. 


She's Leaving on a Jet Plane...for SERBIA: Anna's Adventures I

All right, first up is Anna (see picture above).  She works in the Writing Center with me and is a junior this fall.  Hailing from Kenosha, Wisconsin, Anna is majoring in English with minors in History and Classical Studies.  Anna wrote the following three posts.  I'm just posting them! :)  Enjoy!


Part I: Overview

So I just got back from my second May Term trip (the first being my trip to London last year through the Theatre department).  This second trip was also through Coe’s Theatre department, but it was a completely different experience.  They’re on the same continent, but Belgrade, Serbia, feels like worlds away from London, England.  But I can talk about that later — now I should be getting on to my overview of the trip.

This trip started out with five days of class (with six hours of class time a day) at Coe.  Now before anyone freaks out, it wasn’t that bad and it never felt like we were spending six hours of time on class work.  Each day of class was divided into four sections: history and culture, plays, language, and movies.  The first hour was always dedicated to learning about Serbian culture and what we might expect to see in Belgrade.  The second hour was our time to discuss the reading for the day — usually a play, followed by a chapter or two of a “documentary” book called With Their Backs to the World: Portraits from Serbia by Asne Seierstad.  The third hour was our crash course in Serbian, meaning our attempts to learn enough to pretend to be able to communicate with the native speakers. (As frustrating as it sometimes was to realize that you can’t learn a language in five days, I’m so glad we spent the time on it.  I feel that knowing even the little Serbian that I did made life so much easier once we were actually there.)  The other three hours of class were devoted to a movie, again, usually a play, though we did watch one documentary.  So class wasn’t that bad.  Six hours a day, but divided into bite-size chunks.  Our class met from 1pm-4pm and then again from 7pm-10pm.  We actually had a lot of fun with the movies; we made popcorn, had candy, and ended up using another student’s apartment rather than the real classroom!

At the end of the week, we had a final rather than watching a fifth movie.  Most of the group freaked out a little bit at the prospect of a final exam, but it was really nothing to sweat.  We were only being tested on four and a half days worth of material and there was nothing to worry about if you had paid any sort of attention during class.  We were tested on basic information, like general history and big cultural events, a little language (meaning, phrases you should be able to recognize), and then some theatre terms and concepts that we needed to have an understanding of.  All in all, nothing to really be stressing about.

Once we got to Belgrade, we weren’t really tightly scheduled.  The Serbs are a fairly laid-back people, so stuff happens when it happens there.  There were plenty of things that we did together as a group, but we were also free to go out and explore on our own in smaller groups (say, three or four of us rather than all fourteen of us!).  We ended up sticking together a lot of the time, simply because we all had similar interests (hey, that’s what happens when you stick a bunch of theatre kids together), but after the first few days, there were quite a few of us who were willing to go out and find a meal or souvenirs in smaller groups.

Our days were mostly spent sight-seeing, visiting museums, fortresses, monuments, and theatres (with a lot of walking and bus-riding mixed in), while our nights were either devoted to the theatre or free for us to do what we pleased.  We took a bike tour, a river “cruise,” day trips to the cities of Kragujevac, Zemun, and Novi Sad, visited an archaeological dig outside Belgrade, took an unofficial tour of Belgrade University, saw Tito’s mausoleum and a cathedral under construction.  We saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in Belgrade with Serbian subtitles, ate too much good food, and got slightly sunburned.  I think it’s safe to say I had a really good time.


Check It Out! New Summer Feature Starts Monday! :)

In Rapid City, SD standing next to Ronald Reagan!
I just got back in time for hot and humid weather in Wisconsin!  My family took a road trip to the Great West and we are now home!  Our destination was Mt. Rushmore and along the way we saw the Corn Palace, the Badlands, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse, and statues of all the presidents in Rapid City, SD.  It was a great trip and now I'm back, just in time to introduce a new feature running through July and a little bit of August.  I'm featuring five students who did or are doing fun stuff through Coe.  Here's the starting lineup (titles subject to change).

The Week of...

  • Monday, July 4th - She's Leaving on a Jet Plane...for SERBIA: Anna's Adventures 
  • Monday, July 11th - Home Away From Home: Millie's Summer Work Experience
  • Monday, July 18th - Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Kyle's Baseball Road Trip
  • Monday, July 25th - Let's Discover Physics!: Alison's Summer of Research
  • Monday, August 1st - Greece, Smile for the Camera!: Max's Basketball Escapade

These are five AMAZING Coe students and friends of mine so I hope you enjoy their posts!